A Milwaukie man who earned two Purple Hearts during the Vietnam War died in a motorcycle crash last month while vacationing in Mexico, his wife said.
John E. Currin, 66, was riding his 2012 Harley-Davidson motorcycle when it went off a winding road on March 13, said Jackie Currin, his wife of 41 years.
He was leading a group of four friends from the U.S. border to San Quintin in the Mexican state of Baja California, when he noticed they were no longer in his rearview mirror, his wife said. He then turned his motorcycle around to see where they were and ended up going off the road into an area flush with boulders.
Currin was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, she said.
Currin was nicknamed "Roaddog" -- because he would take the lead when groups of motorcyclists rode together -- and had a keen sense of direction and deep passion for riding, his wife said.
"It was his freedom," said Jackie Currin, who would ride on the back of his motorcycle on their many trips.
Currin was born in Portland and graduated from Cleveland High School. He was a retired truck driver and had worked for the same company, Unified Grocers, for 32 years, his wife said.
She said he'd been a corporal in the Marine Corps and earned a rifleman designation. He was a volunteer for the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, through which he raised money and gathered supplies for homeless veterans.
Currin earned his first Purple Heart when a bullet hit him in the finger and under his arm, his wife said. She said his second Purple Heart was awarded because his feet and lower legs were hit with shrapnel.
Currin served in 1968 and 1969, she said.
They met in Milwaukie before he was deployed to Vietnam, Jackie Currin said. She said she went to school with Currin's younger sister, who set them up when he returned from the war.
They have two adult children, Nick and Shawn, who live in Milwaukie, she said.
She remembered her husband as a fun-loving man who would "strike up a conversation with anybody" and considered his family and friends "super important."